Essay on Clothing And The Old Testament

Essay on Clothing And The Old Testament

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Clothing in the Bible has usually been regarded as less important when determining significance in scripture. Not to say that it is of utmost importance, but it does serve as a visual aid God uses to point people towards Himself. In fact, clothing as a symbol has never been new, since clothing has been used as a symbol consciously and unconsciously, to represent religion, class, occupation, or for practical use, such as warmth for the winter. Commonly, clothing has been used as a means to an end, whether it is to be warm, to perform some kind of ritual, to show off wealth and power, or to simply be presentable in everyday life. Clothing could also be used distinctly as a work of art. Clothing is going to have symbol, whether it is meant to or not. The question is, how exactly is the symbol of clothing portrayed in the Bible? The symbolism of clothing in the Old Testament overall represents God’s mercy to his people, Israel in His promise to always be their God. I would love to go through the whole narrative of scripture from beginning to end, but for the sake of time and our brains, Genesis is a plausible and sensible place to start, since the Judea-Christian story begins there.

Photograph Forest by Настя Мел.
Photograph Forest by Настя Мел. Fantasizing what the garments of fig leaves/tree bark would look like
Clothing’s Beginnings

According to Genesis, whether one sees it from a myth or historical standpoint, the first humans recorded in this narrative, Adam and Eve didn’t own clothing or seem to need them in the world God had shaped when He said “it was good”.[2] In context of how God created a world without sin, Genesis closes its second chapter saying, “the man and his wife were naked and not ashamed.” However Adam and Eve...

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...Adam and Eve, where God informs them & the serpent of the curses they and their descendants will face for all generations.

In spite of the curses, there was hope. In verse 21, it says, “The LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” While Adam and Eve attempted to cover themselves in their own effort, God felt compassion for them and gave them clothing. It was the first gift they had received after the fall. It was as if God made a promise without words in the garments of skin to provide for their needs. Clothing was no longer an object used to cover shame like the fig trees; rather it became a mark of dignity for human beings. In addition, it became a symbol of mercy from an all-powerful God.

This promise, whether through the tool of clothing or another subject, is continued throughout the rest of the Bible’s big-picture narrative.

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